Yuta Takahashi talks about the design philosophy in an interview with Creative talk in Asia(CTA).
What do you like best in your country? (such as country feature or culture)Has it made a difference on your creation?
As Japan is a “culture of emotion,” designs in Japan tend to be created with emotional impact in mind. For example, viewers of Japanese package design will get the impression that the product name and illustrations are all crammed together (There are, of course, exceptions.). While visual perception makes out the parts that make up the cluster of information, in cases like this there is one thing the viewer does not do when they are looking at a design in Japan: think. For the viewer, it is difficult to contemplate the words “what kind of thoughts does the package elicit?” Instead, people are inclined to buy impulsively because the streets are flooded with emotional designs. Though leading a decent life requires sound thinking and decision making, packaging sitting in a supermarket, for example, will still influence the viewer on some level. Europe is a culture of thought (thus their consumption culture is more balanced), and we as Japanese have a lot to learn from European culture.
How do you draw inspiration?
First of all: based on the client’s wishes, I start my research on the market that the client has specified. For my research to be successful, it is necessary to gain an understanding of the existing products in the same market as well as to discover new values that would change the market.
Second: I linguistically parse the results from the market research, and separate the necessary elements from the unnecessary ones.
Third: when I turn the ideas that were derived from the first and second steps into the product, I give consideration to how those new values would be comprehended by the viewer, and whether if it would make an impact on the market (I make adjustments based on how revolutionary or conservative the aim of the client is.).
Fourth: I begin drawing up prototypes. I make lots of prototypes with the aim of inching closer to the design that best captures the ideals on a technical and accurate level.
Fifth: I take a break so that I could come back to it later with an objective viewpoint. Just as the Japanese proverb “The darkest place is under the candlestick” says, you cannot see the whole picture if you focus too much on one thing. I make sure that I always take a break for this purpose.
Sixth: after reviewing the process from the beginning to the fifth step, I finally finish the project.
Seventh: the results that have accumulated from the completed work becomes a source of inspiration for future works. I refine my ideas based on my experience and things that I have gathered from my reflections of past works.
Share good books, music, movies or places with us.
I became interested in movies when I watched “Back to the Future” back in my elementary school days. I have not only seen the whole series more than 10 times, but each movie in the series more than 10 times. I think that is a mark of a good movie in my eyes.
Now, look back to these works of regret for not been selected, how do you feel that?
This is a very interesting question. I think this is something that many designers have experienced. In my case, I have had projects that were not selected due to complicated issues such as those involving the client’s intentions and budget. But from these instances, I have discovered things I needed to improve on, and have applied what I learned in my future works. For example, we designers, in our presentations, share ideas like how our designs are not only used for products that are to be consumed, but they can also be used to galvanize society into improving itself. We share these ideas through various means with society itself.
Have you started to set up new goals for next period except being a designer or illustrator ? like curating, learning cooking , climbing……(better with creativity)
I run daily. I also enjoy cooking, drinking whiskey, and reading.
What is your insist on your life’s details ? like toilet with your favorite poem?
I simply love designing and making things. Though our society is already full of all types of designs, I, in fact, feel far removed from many of these designs. I think the average person feels that same way, too. In other words, when that average person looks around themselves, they won’t say things like “This design is great! That design is also awesome!” Though society is flooded with design, it is just there, sitting in the background and waiting for us to just walk past it without any impact or attachment whatsoever. I think it is such a waste for such a thing to occur. The reason being that people actually do have an interest in design, and good designs touch the people’s hearts and give them the inspiration to act with determination. When people are inspired and moved, it means that they are interested in the world around them. Though the world is bombarded with design, I wonder how many of them are actually good. When I give a part of myself to society through my designs, I feel a connection with society itself. I am also able to discover my place in the world. In my experience, I have only worked on a few projects that had the aim of intentionally achieving this. All in all, I think that from a designer’s point of view, a good design has the ability touch people’s hearts and motivate society.